Higher Deductibles and Co-Insurance Costs Squeezing Healthcare Consumers’ Wallets; A Reasons for Clinical Labs to Make Lab Test Prices Easy to See
Two new studies show patients are being increasingly burdened with a greater share of healthcare costs, which requires providers, including medical labs, to collect more money from patients at time of service
Although wage increases remain stagnant, consumers now pay a steadily increasing share of their healthcare costs. That’s because of rising deductibles, co-insurance, and other out-of-pocket costs. Not only will this cost-sharing trend continue to stretch patients’ budgets, it also will apply more pressure on clinical laboratories and pathology groups to increase price transparency for patients.
A recent study at the University of Michigan (UM), published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), highlighted the growth in out-of-pocket insurance costs for hospitalized patients. For the average consumer with private health insurance, costs rose from $738 in 2009 to $1,013 in 2013—a 37% increase. During that same 4-year period, overall healthcare spending grew at 2.9% per year and health insurance premiums went up 5.1% annually.
Two types of health insurance plan charges were responsible for the biggest change in out-of-pocket spending: deductibles and co-insurance. During the same period, deductibles rose by 86%! Co-insurance costs increased 33% over the same period. Co-payments (a flat fee) were used in fewer hospitalizations. (more…)